Flash Women

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised the photographs on this page may contain images of deceased persons which may cause sadness and/or distress.

The exhibition closed on 30 April 2012

Discover an eclectic, vibrant and stylish collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s favourite fashion pieces in this special exhibition.

Flash Women celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander style, profiling a diverse range of women, from respected elders such as Aunty Ruth Hegarty, to talented young designer Grace Lee and entrepreneur Juliette Knox.

Juliette Knox in her Uluru dress. Designer Yaneira Velasquez. Image Sam Walker

Raelene Baker

Fiona Wirrer-George

Click to enlarge images

Through their stories, common themes emerge: a demonstration of cultural pride, and strong and deliberate links to country and culture through fashion and clothing choices.

Behind Flash Women

I wanted to see an exhibition that celebrated the unique beauty that is Indigenous women’s beauty. A beauty that is NOT about being fashionably beautiful (although many of us are that too) — but the beauty that comes from strength and peace in our families and our communities.

I wanted to see our community celebrate our unique women’s beauty that is exemplified by all that is rich in our heritage: the passion, the attitude, the determination and, most of all, love. I wanted to celebrate the inner beauty that is expressed in the way we mother, the way we contribute to our communities and as a part of our cultural, spiritual, social and political being.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women possess immense grace and beauty, although it’s often not celebrated in mainstream Australia. We are beautiful because we have the ability to rise above severe adversity and triumph over challenge. Indigenous Australian women have demonstrated a toughness to survive and a tenderness to inspire. There is a glorious heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who were tough enough to resist their oppressor and tender enough to nurture our families.

I also wanted to see this exhibition come into being because I saw so many of our younger women who did not know the wonderful legacy of natural beauty that is theirs — handed down to them from one beautiful woman to another over thousands of years. That’s worth celebrating!

Walbira Murray, 2011

In the exhibition

  • Walbira Murray Dance belt and dance sticks 2010
  • Santa-Marina Rodgers Semi formal skirt suit 2003
  • Joan Quick Wedding dress 1964
  • Fiona Wirrer-George Wedding dress 1990
  • Jacynthia Ghee Wedding dress 1957
  • Sandra Georgiou Cream cape and fascinator 2009
  • Juliette Knox Uluru dress 2010
  • Nancy Bamaga Academic cap and sash in Torres Strait colours 2006
  • Jennifer Herd Emu feather cloak 2008
  • Grace Lee Contemporary dress using traditional Torres Strait weave 2010
  • Raelene Baker Miss OPAL 1970 dress, sash, gloves and purse 1969
  • Marlene Holt Rock ‘n’ roll underskirt 1957
  • Sharon Phineasa Carved haircombs 2010
  • Olga Chambers Earrings, necklace and needlework, date unknown
  • Ruth Hegarty Cameo brooch, necklaces and jewellery box, date unknown


Flash Women
1 Nov 2011 – 30 Apr 2012
kuril dhagun, level 1
State Library of Queensland

Find out about the Flash Women talks & workshops that were held as part of the exhibition program.

Flash Women online

Upload a photo of a stylish Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander woman you know to State Library’s facebook page and tell us why you think she is flash. Images will also form a visual display as part of the Flash Women exhibition at State Library of Queensland.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised the photographs in this album may contain images of deceased persons which may cause sadness and/or distress.

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